Tornadoes slammed through northeast Texas and southwest Arkansas this past weekend, killing at least four people and leaving dozens injured. The heaviest hit area was Van, Texas (see video).
Additionally, in South Dakota, a morning tornado ripped through the southeastern town of Delmont, injuring at least nine people. In Lake City, Iowa, a suspected tornado tore off a high school building roof during a baccalaureate ceremony.
These events provide a tragic reminder of how powerful and destructive a tornado can be. Here are some Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) safety tips you can pass along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
- If your area is under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway), away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Don’t open windows.
And if you learn about the tornado warning while you’re on the road?
- Make sure your seat belt is fastened and drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
- If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you’re driving, pull over and park.
- Stay in the vehicle with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows. Cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your vehicle and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
- Don’t get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
- Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.